Holiday 2016

22 Nov 2016

holiday-2

Given the state of things, I’ve decided to make a fist of it and dive straight right into holiday mode. Can you hear those jingle bells a-jangling? Me either, but we are going to get there people! For the first time ever, I am going to offer one of those clever little gift guides that I say I am going to do every year and never get around to actually putting together….nothing too elaborate, just a few of my favourite things from Ireland and abroad that might make terrific holiday pressies and put smiles on the faces of those you love. Because we could all do with some smiley faces, right? So, fix yourself a cup of tea (or, something a little stronger) and have a lovely little browse. I will have an exciting update on our #ShePlantedASeed project on my next post.

Of course, at the top of the list is a personalised & signed copy of my book, The Farmette Cookbook, Recipes and Adventures from My Life on an Irish Farm, I mean I have to take this opportunity for a bit of shameless self-promotion, right? But, I have SO many other goodies to share, none of which are sponsored (but, there is nothing wrong with sponsoring a brand that you love!) and all of which are honest suggestions that I have tried myself and highly recommend. For those that know me, I can get a wee bit carried away about new products and bits that I cherish, but it always comes from the heart, promise!

So without further ado,

holiday-5

The Farmette Cookbook Recipes and Adventures from my Life on an Irish Farm. Signed by yours truly. Add on a fabulous Modern Farmette Butter-Making Kit or DIY Cheesemaking Kit if you fancy, for a total 50 euros + shipping. Email me: imenmcdonnell@gmail.com for ordering details.

IMG_6341

What a few amazing ladies had to say about my book (Well, I’ll be!)…..

“A joyful celebration of life on an Irish farm.  A super, chic book written with the appreciative eye of an outsider who reminds us of the sheer pleasure of living on a dairy farm. Rearing a few table fowl, planting a vegetable garden and an orchard, rediscovering the satisfaction of using home-grown Irish produce to make truly delicious and creative food for family and friends.”—Darina Allen

“Imen takes traditional Irish cooking to the next level with her American curiosity and ingenuity. She weaves big city cravings, like potstickers, tacos, banh mi, harissa, pizza, and more, with traditional comfort food made from scratch. Imen’s brave leap of faith and love is a boon for the rest of us: we now have this charming book full of stories and recipes I can’t wait to make.”—Susan Spungen, founding food editor of Martha Stewart Living

“There is magic in Imen McDonnell’s new book, and in her story. Her dedication to uncovering Ireland’s rich food culture and cultivating her own shines through. You’ll want to dive right in, start cooking, and build your own fairy tale.”—Sarah Copeland, author of Feast and former Food Director, Real Simple Magazine

holiday-4

Reclaimed Iron Cooking Tripod.

dkilfeather_hermes_191

Reclaimed Iron Cooking Tripod crafted here at the farm. 4 ft – 6ft (adjustable) sizes. Ireland delivery only. 100 euros. Email imenmcdonnell@gmail.com for ordering details. (photo credit: Doreen Kilfeather)

  • Sturdy three leg design for stability
  • “S” hook with chain for adjustable height. 
  • Heavy duty reclaimed iron construction
  • Holds Dutch ovens, coffee pots, tea pots, etc
  • Works well to hang lanterns, water Jugs etc too
  • Perfect for hanging Dutch ovens, tea pots, coffee pots ect. over a cooking fire

 

holiday-5

Honestly ladies, these are like the UGGS of Wellie boots. The AIGLE Juliette. Super hard wearing and immensely comfortable. I could seriously wear these all day, in the house and on the farm, they literally feel like slippers! For ages my friend Ella McSweeney of Ear To The Ground urged me to buy AIGLE boots, and I just finally took the plunge before our last Lens & Larder event at Ballyfin. They also have tall boots and loads of other styles to choose from, so I am kitting out the boys with AIGLES for Christmas too!

aigle_mrs_juliette_black

holiday-7

Orwell & Browne Donegal Tweed Dickie Bows and Notebooks. I got hooked on this brand a couple of years ago, and now I have everyone who comes within a two mile radius of the farm adorned with tweed bow ties. Exceptional quality and super lovely folks behind the brand. Also, apparently they ship free everywhere in the world!

bow-ties-2

 

holiday-8

America Village Apothecary. Don’t let the name fool you, this brand is 100% Irish. My friend and frequent collaborator, Claire Davey, lives in a place called America Village, County Galway, Ireland. She makes unique syrups, tinctures and bitters for creating craft beverages or for use with food using unique locally foraged flavours, carefully sourced ingredients, paying attention to every last detail. I recently tried Claire’s tonic syrup, must admit that adding another step to my gin and tonic seemed rather inconvenient in theory, but after stirring up this elixir, I will never go back to store-bought tonics! Wow, what a flavour sensation and just pure, true beauty in a bottle. (and, you can pair it with some of my other gift guide suggestions below)

americavillagejuly2016-4

 

holiday-9Bertha’s Revenge Gin. A gin distilled with milk whey named after Ireland’s oldest Kerry cow. Say no more. (other than the fact that the lads who started this brand are absolutely the salt of the earth, gorgeous souls inside and out) The gin is extremely botanical, and not in the usual juniper/pine sense, totally refreshing and completely festive.

 

photo-080-1-w480

holiday-10

Pippa Holt Kaftans. I met the gorgeous Pippa Holt (Roche) last month, a fellow blow-in–from Australia–with a personality as sunny as the South Pacific and an absolute heart of gold. She’s created a line of crazy beautiful kaftans with more to be launched in NYC in spring 2017. Keep your eye on this inspiring woman and her stunning summery pieces!

 

10272882-b_1 pipph3a

holiday-11

Some of my favourite food books this year…..

 

picmonkey-collage-4

Row 1: The Short Stack Cookbook by Nick Fauchald, Kaitlyn Goolen, and the Short Stack Editions Contributors. French Country Cooking by Mimi Thorisson. Fruit on the Table by Theresa Storey. Row 2: Molly on the Range by Molly Yeh. Recipes From My Mother by Rachel Allen. Small Victories by Julia Turshen. Row 3: EAT. LIVE. GO. by Donal Skehan. Treyf by Elissa Altman. Fishwives by Goatsbridge. Row 4: The Vanilla Bean Baking Book by Sarah Keiffer. The New Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Zoe Francois and Jeff Hertzberg . My French Family Table by Beatrice Peltre.

 

holiday-5

Arran Street East. Simple, functional and beautiful design for your home. Made by hand in the heart of Dublin. In that sea of ceramics on the scene, these pieces are speaking to me the most.  Check out their story and their stunning wares here.

arran-st-east-mugs

 

holiday-7

Seedlip.

seedlip-main-img_1

This might be THEE most exciting thing to happen to spirits in my lifetime! I can’t tell you enough how much I adore this incredibly innovative brand which is single-handedly solving the forever dilemma: “what do drink when you’re not drinking.” Seedlip is the world’s first alcohol free distilled spirit. Whoopee! Seriously, the flavour profile is so unique and enticing. My favourite is the Wood-Spice-Citrus which is all earthy and aromatic with notes of allspice, cardamon, grapefruit, oak and lemon. Seedlip is sugar free, sweetener free, has no calories or artificial flavours. Do you need anymore convincing? Wowsers.

holiday-8

ffb70fd2-5ce9-4ae7-b9fc-76998d3b3d85-2013-1113_easy-and-oskey_make-your-own-bitters-kit_family-038

Easy & Oskey DIY Naked Bitters. Bitters in their birthday suit. Let inspiration be your guide as you create your very own flavor masterpiece. Fig, apricot, hops, toasted sesame, allspice, bacon, or any combination your palate longs for…there is simply no limit. I got to collaborate with Erik Eastman one half of Easy & Oskey for one of my book launch events over the summer, totally lovely fella who crafted some downright incredible cocktails using these bitters.

holiday-9

Created + Found

lr-spoons

My friend Jette Virdi’s exciting new adventure. Jette, a Ballymaloe trained chef and food stylist, has launched a new  online boutique stocked with gorgeous kitchen goods and sundries all hand-crafted in Ireland. Have a look!  Wheeeeee!

holiday-5

Hedley & Bennett

I don’t think I have ever come across someone with as much enthusiasm and verve for her brand as Ellen Bennett. Ellen, who has been known to fly through the air to announce the arrival of a new apron design, is such a peach in this business of food. Not only does her personality want to make you buy aprons for days, but all of the chef gear is beautiful, well-made and durable, just ask some of America’s top chefs. Whoop whoop Hedley & Bennett!!!

hedley-bennett-aprons

holiday-7

Heritage Cured Irish Ham

cvz9qyuwuaae70r

James Whelan Butchers signature heritage cure Irish ham is truly delicious. Cured on the bone, it has a distinctive flavour with a hint of smoky hickory undertones. This ham is ideal for carving and brings ham to a whole new level. Particularly low in salt, with the bone bringing a certain sweetness to the meat. My longtime friend Pat Whelan is the man behind this award-winning butcher shop which offers online ordering and delivery throughout Ireland and if we are not rearing our own meat for the holidays, he is our go-to supplier.

And, last, but not least…..

holiday-8

EXPERIENCES.
I want to share some of my favourite things to do in Ireland at the moment, whether it be a place to stay,  shop, eat, an event, workshop, an outdoor pursuit or even a place of worship….as I have always said, there is so much more to Ireland than a pint of Guinness!

Litfest.

Food On The Edge.

Lens & Larder.

The Glucksman for I Went Into the Woods or Gut Instinct.

Cliff of Moher Retreat.

Ballyhoura Trail Riding.

Dzogchen Beara Zen Buddhist Centre.

Glenstal Abbey Conventional Mass. (complete with massive incense & Gregorian chants sung by a choir of monks)

The new and improved 7* Adare Manor (I got a sneak peak and WHOAAAAA! re-opening spring 2017)

Ballyfin Demesne (just named the best hotel in the world by Condé Nast, and just an incredibly warm, private, beautiful place to stay, I recently produced an event there which I will share about soon)

For another taste of Ireland, my friends at Perennial Plate are releasing a series of stunning short films on Irish food and the people and places behind it.

Só Collective.

Forest & Marcy

Heron & Grey

La Cucina Centro (Henry Street, Limerick)

The Mews (closed until spring 2017)

Two Boys Brew

1826 Adare

For Irish New Yorkers, stay tuned for the next Fare Plate spring 2017

There are so many more bits and bobs that I would like to mention, and I may continue in a future post (also, if you feel I have missed something, please do share in the comments below), but for now I hope you enjoyed this little slice of gift giving ideas!

Hope & peace to all.

Slan Abhaile,

Imen xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

· · · ◊ ◊ ◊ · · ·

Nollaig Bheag Na Mban

06 Jan 2012


Today is Nollaig na mBan or Women’s Christmas. It’s a holiday celebrated here on the farm with great care and joy. I will never forget the first Little Christmas I celebrated here in Ireland when my father-in-law wore a polka-dot apron and served us a massive roast goose dinner from a heated retro hostess trolley. Let’s just say, I have photos.

The tradition of Little Christmas or Women’s Christmas is still very strong especially in the southwest of Ireland and is so called because Irish men are required to take on all the household duties for the day. Most women hold parties or go out to celebrate the day with their friends, sisters, mothers, and aunts. Bars and restaurants serve mostly women and girls on this night. Children often buy presents for their mothers and grandmothers. We usually have a lovely dinner made at the farm prepared by grandad who he also does all the cleaning for the day as well. While some people think this holiday should be binned, I think it is sweet, but could certainly be “celebrated” more than once a year!

This year, we are having a big ‘ould gorgeous roast duck for dinner complete with walnut stuffing and some beautiful side dishes, all inspired by the cookbook shoot that I styled last Spring.

Are you celebrating Little Christmas?

Roast Duck with Walnut Stuffing

Ingredients

3kg/5-6lb duckling

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp clear honey

2 tbsp plain flour

300 ml/ 1 cup of chicken stock

Salt & Pepper

Walnut Stuffing

1 tbsp oil

1 onion chopped

125g/1/2 cup chopped roasted walnuts

125g/1/2 cup fresh white breadcrumbs

Grated rind of one lemon

1 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley

1 tsp chopped marjoram

1 egg beaten

Method

Preheat oven to 220c/425F/Gas Mark 7

Prepare stuffing first. Heat oil in pan and fry onion until soft

Stir in walnuts, breadcrumbs, lemon rind, parsley and marjoram. Season to taste.

Lightly beat egg and pour into the mixture to bind the stuffing

Dry the duck with kitchen paper and prick all over with a fine skewer

Fill the cavity of duck with stuffing, truss and set on wire rack in roasting pan

Mix the lemon juice and honey together and smear over duck

Sprinkle with salt and pepper

Place into hot oven for 10 minutes then lower heat to 190c/375f/Gas Mark 5 for a further 2-2.5 hours

Baste the bird several times during cooking

Leave to rest for 15 minutes

Use the duck fat drippings to make a lovely duck gravy

Happy Nollaig bheag na mban!

Imen

Photo by Moya McAllister, styled by Imen McDonnell 2011

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

· · · ◊ ◊ ◊ · · ·

A Toad In The Hole

30 Dec 2011

This morning I wondered out loud on Twitter if a Toad-In-The-Hole is essentially the same as a Pig-In-A-Blanket? I then meandered into the kitchen and using a recipe I learned from The Butcher, baked up a mini tray of the very same Toads-In-The-Holes that were in question for my little farmer. When I logged back into the Twitterverse, I was dumbfounded by the flood of spirited responses to my porky little enquiry!

No one was having it. Even fellow Americans told me that Pigs-In-A-Blanket were hot dogs wrapped in Pillsbury crescent rolls, certainly not a sausage inside of a Yorkshire pudding. {I must admit, I do recall my dear Aunt R making the most delicious dogs in crescents and finger jellos for us kids after a long day of slip-n-sliding in the sun}

Still, I always thought that a Pig-In-A-Blanket was a sausage wrapped inside of pancake. I had the best intentions….thought I was on the right track, you know, pork popping out of some sort of doughy batter….similar right?

Nope. I stood firmly corrected. Here’s a snippet:

@ModernFarmette blasphemer! Err.. Ok that’s a bit strong, I’m very fond of toad in the hole. It’s not the same thing.

@ModernFarmette pigs in blankets are sausages wrapped in bacon here! Toad in hole is sausages in a lg Yorkshire pudding yummy comfort food

@ModernFarmette Nope – toad in the hole is sausage in a yorkshire pudding batter. Pigs in Blankets are in pastry (aren’t they???)

@ModernFarmette wiki doesn’t agree they are the same en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toad_in_t… vs en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pigs_in_a…

@ModernFarmette They’re different – with a toad, you pour over a pancake-type batter in a dish that puffs up all around the sausages.

@ModernFarmette toad in a hole, I believe, is the same as egg in a hole #dontquotemeonthat

@modernfarmette So really it’s more like a pig in a hole.

@ModernFarmette totally different! Toad in the hole is sausage baked in Yorkshire batter

@ModernFarmette are pigs in blankets sausies wrapped in puff pastry? Toad in the hole are sausies in Yorkshire pudd batter. And delish.

@ModernFarmette Pigs in blankets are sausages wrapped in bacon

@ModernFarmette I learned this Christmas that the pigs are sausages wrapped in bacon and baked, toads are sausages in Yorkshire pudding!

@ModernFarmette pig in a blanket is sausage in pastry, toad is sausage in Yorkshire pud basically, near the same but both delish!

@ModernFarmette Pig in a blanket is like a sausage roll? Toad in the hole is sausages baked in a dish w/Yorkshire pudding type mixture.

@ModernFarmette we had them but they were hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls. Yummers.

I didn’t really want to end the year with a Sausage Toad-In-The-Hole, but, as you can see, I simply could not resist.

A Toad In The Hole

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups or 188g of all purpose flour

1 scant teaspoon Kosher salt

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

3 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 cup or 375ml milk

2 Tbsp melted butter

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 lb or 450g  (4 medium sized)  Irish or English sausage made with pork and breadcrumbs or good quality pork or beef sausage links (in casings)

Method

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour with the salt and a pinch of pepper. Make a well in the center of the flour. Pour in the eggs, milk, and melted butter into the well and whisk into the flour until smooth. Cover and let stand 30 minutes.

Coat the bottom and sides of an 8×12 or 9×9 casserole dish or a 4 hole pudding tin (for individual minis) with vegetable oil. Place a rack in the bottom third of the oven. Put the empty dish on the rack. Preheat the oven with the dish in it to 425°F.

While the oven is coming to temperature, heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a skillet on medium high. Add the sausages and brown them on at least a couple sides.

When the sausages have browned, and the dish in the oven hot, pull the oven rack out a bit (or out alltogether), put the sausages in the casserole dish or pudding tin, and pour the batter over the sausages. Cook for about 20-30 minutes or until the batter is risen and golden.

Serve at once.

*For Yank-style, I add 1/8 cup of sugar to the dry ingredients and then drench in Maple syrup immediately upon removal from the oven.

Thank you for putting up with all of my farmy foibles and experiments in Irish food this year…..it brings me real pleasure to share.

Happy New Year To One And All!

Slan Abhaile,

Imen x

Photo and styling by Imen McDonnell 2011

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

· · · ◊ ◊ ◊ · · ·

One of the best bits about the holidays for me is all the baking and confections of the season. It’s the one time of year where you are likely to throw caution to the wind, indulge in all the festive sweets that your heart desires and chalk it up to holiday spirit. I personally think that is A-OK. That is, until the first day of the New Year when I can’t seem to fit into my stretchy yoga pants.

Over the weekend, my little baking assistant and I made magnificent mince pies. I discovered that these savory/sweet tiny tarts are perfect for little hands to help out with, and Geoffrey had loads of fun rolling then cutting out circles of pastry and spooning the mincemeat into each little case to be topped off with a star. Later we packaged the pies up all pretty and brought them across the road to share with family. They went down a treat and Geoffrey was delighted with himself.

I must say, mince pies in Ireland are so perfectly dainty and elegant looking. Even if you don’t like mincemeat, it’s impossibe to not pick up a parcel of these eye-catching pies delicately sprinkled with powdery icing sugar. They just seem to jump out at you when you’re browsing the market, oozing the essence of Christmas.

The beauty of mince pies came as a surprise to me, however, as, unless I am mistaken, you would be hard pressed to find mince pies trimming the aisles of every supermarket  in America at this time of year. (or any time of year, really) Remarkably, my grandmother made mincemeat pie for Thanksgiving every year as a part of her trinity of classic tarts: apple, pumpkin and mincemeat. Still, I do not recall witnessing a mince pie at a friend’s home nor a bakery or grocery store in the States. I remember as a child, we considered mincemeat pie extremely old-fashioned because only the adults took a slice for dessert. In our naïveté, we also thought it very strange that people would eat a ‘meat’ pie after a massive meaty meal.

At the weekend, my wee assistant and I will be hitting the kitchen again and attempting to make meringues for the first time. The recipe looks uncomplicated, but I’ve been told that either you can make them or not. I’m hoping for the former. Wish us luck!

Now, for more exciting holiday pressie news!  We put all the butchery course entries into a big milk pail and the farmer drew a name last evening. And, the winner of last week’s holiday giveaway is…drum roll please….Kristin Jensen! Congratulations Kristin, leave it to my farmer to pull another expat out of the mix! You will be joining me on 21st Feb at 6:30 and we will butcher the night away! Will be sending more details via email soon. Thanks so much to everyone for leaving a comment, even if you didn’t win a place on the course, I would encourage you to still sign up…it will be an excellent opportunity to learn about butchering techniques and where our meat comes from!

For my second lovely Christmas giveaway, I am very excited to announce that I have a stunning book from The History Press Ireland up for grabs. A Taste of Cork, A Gourmand’s Tour of its Food and Landscape by Seán Monaghan and Andrew Gleasure captures Cork’s rich and diverse landscape and presents it in a whole new light, combining the spectacular scenery with the artisan gourmet food producers who are so much a part of the culture. The book features Ummera Smoked Products, Cork’s English Market, Ardrahan Farmhouse Cheese and Lullaby Milk, McCarthys of Kanturk and many, many more sensational artisan food producers and beautiful Cork scenery. Leave a comment to be included in the draw. I will ship internationally!

Irish Mince Pies

For the homemade mincemeat

1lb sultanas

1lb beef suet (or a shredded veg suet)

8 oz mixed peel

2 oranges, juice and rind

6 tbsp brandy or cognac

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp mixed spice

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1lb raisins

2lb brown sugar

1lb cooking apples

2 lemons, juice and rind

1 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground cloves

In a large bowl, mix together all the dried fruit, suet, sugar and spices. Grate the apples and add in along with juice and zest from oranges and lemons.  Add brandy. Leave for 24 hours, then put into pots and seal.  (makes 8-10 jam jars)

For the pastry

200g/7oz plain flour, sifted

40g/1½oz caster sugar

75g/2¾oz ground almonds

125g/4½oz unsalted butter, diced

1 large free-range egg, beaten

milk, to glaze

Lightly butter a 12-hole pie/shallow muffin tin. Tip the mincemeat into a bowl and stir so that the liquid is evenly distributed.

Place the flour, sugar, almonds and butter in a food processor and process briefly until resembling breadcrumbs, then slowly add the egg. (Or rub the butter into the dry ingredients by hand and stir in egg)

Bring the mixture together with your hands, wrap in clingfilm and chill for an hour or so.

Thinly roll out the pastry on a floured surface. Cut out 12 circles with a fluted pastry cutter, large enough to fill the base of the prepared tin. Press gently into each hole, then fill with spoonfuls (as you like) of the mincemeat.

Cut out another 12 slightly smaller discs and 12 smaller stars and use to cover the mincemeat. Press the edges together to seal. Brush lightly with milk. Chill for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Bake the pies for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack and serve warm with lashings of brandy butter.

Happy Holidays!

Slan Abhaile,

Imen

Photos & Styling by Imen McDonnell 2011

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

· · · ◊ ◊ ◊ · · ·

Holiday Gingerbread

08 Dec 2011

I love gingerbread at this time of the year. Not the cookies. Not the houses. The kind of gingerbread which is more like a cake or a loaf. The kind of gingerbread that you slather deep and thick with homemade butter. Sweet, but not too sweet…more like a tea cake. In my producing days, a post production house in London once sent me a holiday gift of Grasmere gingerbread and the memory of that flavour still lingers on. In fact, it has persuaded me to bake at least one batch of gingerbread for the holidays each year here at the farm.

Since I was doing a charity butter-making demo last evening in Tipperary, I decided it would be festive to bake up some gingerbread to bring along to share with the audience. Once I had the honey-rum butter made, it could be lashed onto squares of gingerbread and passed around the audience. The response was overwhelming. The recipe requested. I was going to post about mince pies today, but they will have to politely wait their turn until next week.

In other news, I am crazy thrilled to announce the first of 3 holiday giveaways that I am doing on the blog this year. Weeee, I feel like Oprah! Giving is far superior than receiving at Christmas, such a wonderful feeling.

So, first up, with a million thanks to Pat Whelan, and following on in the spirit of celebrating Tipperary Food, is a FIRST CLASS BUTCHERY COURSE at James Whelan Butchers in Clonmel, County Tipperary on 21st of February at 6:30PM.  You will join myself and 10 other students to learn all about the meat, where it comes from, how and when it is used along with a range of hands-on butchery skills. James Whelan butchers are fully trained skillful professionals, well-versed in all aspects of cutting meat and the aging process. An in-depth insight into the techniques of cutting beef, lamb, pork and bacon will be covered on the evening.

During our summer in America, I was inspired by so many brilliant artisan butchery classes on offer around the USA that I really wished I could have participated in….now here’s my chance, and yours! Leave a comment below and I will be drawing a name next week.

My Holiday Gingerbread

350g/2 1/3 cups plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda/baking soda

3-4 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp allspice

8 globes preserved stem ginger in syrup, drained and chopped

125g/ 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing

100g/ 1/2 cup light muscovado sugar (brown sugar can substitute)

50g caster sugar

225g/ 3/4 cup golden syrup {there really is no substitute for this recipe}

1 organic egg, beaten

75ml/3 oz milk

Grease and line a loaf tin with non-stick baking paper. Preheat the oven to 160°C (320F)/fan140°C/gas 3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, ground ginger and allspice. Set aside. Chop 4 globes of the ginger and add to the flour mixture. Finely slice the remainder and set aside.

Melt the butter, sugar(s) and golden syrup in a small pan. Set aside to cool slightly (this should take about 15 minutes)

Beat the egg and milk together. Stir the cooled syrup into the dry ingredients, followed by the egg and milk and beat well. Spoon into the tin and arrange the remaining ginger overlapping on top. Bake for about 1 1/4 hours until just firm to the touch. Cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy warm with lashings of butter and a cup of tea, coffee or a big glass of cold milk.

Slan Abhaile,

Imen

Photos and styling by Imen McDonnell

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

· · · ◊ ◊ ◊ · · ·

Springtime brings new growth and here on the farm there are definitely some wonderful new things afoot, including baby calves by the day and soon we welcome new baby chicks and bid farewell to the last group {keep an eye out for our free range whole chickens in Dunnes Stores, labelled with R. McDonnell Farm}

On a personal + creative note, I will be taking the plunge on my first assignment as a food and prop stylist as we begin shooting an exciting new cookery book by master butcher, Pat Whelan, of James Whelan Butchers in Clonmel, County Tipperary.

If you are in Ireland, you are likely aware of Pat and his dynamic business model and ebullient personality.  If not, I think New Yorker turned Londoner and Jamie Oliver business partner, Adam Perry Lang, said it best when he visited Pat’s shop this week and exclaimed, “beyond inspired in Ireland, Pat Whelan Butcher shop has lit a fire. Shop is genius. Old School meets new school answer to industry. Star!!!”  Pat’s new book project is a follow-up to his first release which came out last year and was a great success. If all goes well, this book will be printed and distributed in the Autumn just in time for the holiday gift giving season.

Pat approached me in March at the Grow It Yourself IrelandButter Live event that I participating in with Ella McSweeney and Alan Kingston of Glenilen Farm He complimented this blog and asked if I would be interested in working on his book. Flattered and thrilled, I jumped at the opportunity and also put on my producer hat to assist him in sourcing the perfect photographer to be at the helm of shooting the gorgeous, meaty recipes that he put forward.

Ironically, I had been swapping emails with NYC-based photographer, Moya McAllister, about the prospect of coming over to work on a photo documentary on Irish rural living when I discovered that she also shoots beautiful food and had recently completed a stunning campaign for Bertolli in the USA.  When I asked if she would be interested, she didn’t miss a beat and said absolutely. Moya grew up in Long Island, NY, the daughter of Irish born and bred parents. Her talent with the camera and her passion for all things Irish make up the perfect ingredients for this cookery book shoot.

Our home has officially been transformed to a production kitchen & studio which we have affectionately coined “Farmhouse Productions”. We have put together a tiny production team including a tremendous talent (and one of my best girls), Sonia Mulford Chaverri, who has a great deal of experience working in studio production. Sonia just so happened to be on an extended Irish visit to lend a hand on our farmhouse restore project and will now be assisting me with styling.

Guess it was bound to happen, you can move the producer out of the city, but you can’t take the producer out of the producer…..even if you do live on a farm in the middle of the Irish countryside. And now, I add to my treasured production repertoire, a new adventure in food and prop styling……let the journey begin!

We will be shooting for nearly the entire month of May and I will be sharing brief blog posts about my experience {tweeting too}…hope you stay along for the ride.

Slan Abhaile,

Imen

Instagram photo taken by Moya McAllister at the Whelan Abbatoire, County Tipperary.

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

· · · ◊ ◊ ◊ · · ·